Why do you rebrand? 5 times when brand development can really make a difference

When it comes to marketing and advertising, brand development is something that often gets shunted aside. Affordable, short term strategies and quick turnaround campaigns may give companies instant returns, yet often they’re merely a band-aid over a deeper, more fundamental problem. To create real change and deliver long-term results, sometimes it’s imperative to invest in branding expertise.

1. Merger and Acquisition

When companies merge or acquire, confusions can arise between brands or product offerings. A newly acquired entity that’s outdated requires a brand strategy to pull its values into the present. Most acquisitions mean a new portfolio of brands and products to manage — and sometimes an entirely new business. Brand specialists help clarify the relationship, differentiate between them, solidify their place in the market and reassure shareholders and stakeholders of the credibility and value of the business they just bought. Sometimes a repositioning is all that’s needed, but other times a complete overhaul with new brand name and identity is essential.

VOICE recently helped Oji Holdings Corporation when they acquired Carter Holt Harvey (now Oji Fibre Solutions), and Frucor and Suntory’s merger to Frucor Suntory.

2. Expansion

Delving into new regions, markets, product lines or expanding through an alliance or a new distributor: now more than ever it’s the strength of your brand that matters. Regardless of how good your product is, when introducing something new to consumers, your brand is the first impression and the backbone on which everything leans.

Expansions take considerable investment and focus during early establishment, meaning your eye is off the ball elsewhere. Now more than ever it’s vital your core business is stable while your focus is on the new opportunity. This means a reassessment of your current positioning and if needed, tweaks in brand strategy to ensure you’ve got secure footing in your current market.

Success in your current market has led to this expansion opportunity, but you’re a fool if you think you can step-repeat in a new realm. New competitors and the subtle differences in consumer tastes and expectations need to be understood. Research and brand strategy provide these answers and a direction for the brand expansion.

VOICE worked with Healthy Breath and the launch of their smart anti-pollution mask for its expansion into China and Korean markets.

3. Outdated Image

Your company might be successful, have an established market share and a good reputation. But though heritage has its value in peoples’ hearts, brands that are stagnant inevitably become redundant. Consumers are increasingly more sophisticated and brands need to be constantly adjusting in order to stay ahead.

Developing a brand strategy to improve, while retaining the brand characteristics that consumers’ love is a requirement for survival.

An example of this is when Farmers had lost its way and was under threat from other value retail operators. VOICE worked with the company to focus and refresh the brand, developing a strategy that gave them a clear proposition and direction, helping them understand exactly where they stood in the market and win back the hearts of its customers.

4. Changes in Consumer and Market Dynamic

With growing globalisation there’s more choice on offer and consumer trends, desires and expectations are changing at an every-increasing speed. Whole new categories are regularly opening up and younger demographics are becoming dominant in their spending power. When it comes to brands, it’s a game of keep up or be left behind and those that succeed are the ones nimble enough to shift with the market.

Brand specialists are at the forefront of global consumer trends and will help you anticipate and respond in order to stay ahead. If you’re losing footing, a review and refine of the existing brand may well be needed, or the introduction of new product lines, more premium or on trend sub-brands. The presentation of your product or service might need tweaking, or improvements in customer service developed as a core value proposition.

An example of this is Aunt Jean’s Dairy, launched out of a growing consumer trend for traceable, sustainably packaged, farm-to-table products. VOICE helped them understand the premium milk industry, where the Aunt Jean’s Dairy product should best be positioned, and what, of its many benefits, should bubble to the top.

5. Moving up the Value Chain

In a market with choice on offer, there will always be brands with a lower price point than others. But while price is a determining factor in many consumer purchase decisions, simply being cheap isn’t a position that will guarantee you market share.

Nor is it a position you can sustain. In the consumer value market, people just look for the cheapest product, leading you into a continuous price battle with your competitors. By constantly decreasing your prices, you’re constantly decreasing your margins, leading you on a hiding to nowhere. At competing value electronics stores, for example, customer loyalty is virtually nil, as consumers simply go to the store that has the best deal on big screen TVs that weekend.

In order for your brand to thrive long term it needs to stand for something more than cost. Whether that’s range, customer service, innovation, sustainability or something else, you need to give consumers a secondary reason to choose you. In this instance, value additions such as a refreshed brand image, improvements in product or a focus on customer experience will be the difference between business success or business failure.